I’m off on a four-day weekend to Ndumo, abandoning the kids. Charles and Barbara Mason have very kindly invited me on their regular annual trip.
Leaving for school today, Tom spots we’re alone, no-one in earshot.
Gives me a big hug, leans his head against my chest, “I’m going to miss you Daddy. Don’t get hurt.”
Then he looks me in the eye with a grin, “Don’t get drunk, don’t get high, don’t get the munchies” he says and saunters off to school.
Ndumo was great. Dry but lots of birds around camp and the pans walks beautiful as always.
Special sights: Skeins of gyppos and spurwing overhead; A thermal of pelicans soaring; Retz’s & white helmetshrikes, nicators, tinkers, honeyguides and honeybirds, a trogon, robins, apalii, ‘peckers, spoonbills wading, glossy ibis, lots of others.
A glimpse of a suni in the sand forest was special too. Lots of crocs, heard the hippos but didn’t see them.
There are seven huts at Ndumo and there were 14 people plus me, so friends Charles and Chris moved an extra bed into their bungalow, shipped their wives off to the next door chalet and there I was, the newly-minted pensioner among the established pensioners. And probly the best-behaved. This lot had known each other for far too long and were teenagers all over again. Dermott Beck from Bergville in the 50’s knew the Reitz’s and had been operated on under chloroform by Dr Frank Reitz in Harrismith – as had I some 12yrs later!
Luckily a lone lady camping in a pup tent on her way to Mocambique joined us – making me only the second-youngest in camp.
We are able to do
I finally managed to contact Ndumu main office on 035 591 0058 and spoke to Bongani as Mr Chris was off.
Also cell numbers (never answered!!!) 072 672 8508 and 082 799 1491
Bongani suggests that we bring our own water 5 – 10 litres per person / couple as they do not always have enough for sale – we are able to boil water for drinking if supplies run out.
We are able to do a Pongola bird walk, a pan walk to Shokwe or Njamithi, the rhino walk area has been very dry but depending on the rain situation we may be able to walk there.
Take comfortable shoes, hats, water bottle, sweets, binoculars, camera, bird, tree or flower books, reading matter
Cost of Landrover trip: R240
Cost of walks R120
Cost of trip in own vehicle with game guard +- ????
In the past we’ve tried to do at least an early morning and an evening game drive during our stay, but it is optional (usually one a day) or however many you wish to.
Enjoyable to do a walk a day.
It is also lovely to just sit in the camp and watch the birds.
Please bring your OWN TORCHES
Can stop at an Ultracity / or Mkuze for lunch if you wish on the Friday
The previous times we’ve been at Ndumu we worked in pairs overseeing the catering etc per day which enables us all to have ‘time out’.
We used to buy the food for everyone and costs were shared – but the past two times we allocated meals to the 4 people overseeing the catering per day and we all took different items. It worked well as we each have a fridge in our unit to store food.
There is a cook and washer up who are quite adequate – Jabulani and Ginger. If you prefer you could do some pre-cooking at home and the cook could do the rice / potatoes / vegetables / salad or whatever.
Those on duty need to give the cooks the meat / vegetable etc before we go off for walk or landrover trips in the afternoon. They need to be requested to make a fire on the ‘braai night’
Whoever is providing the dinner for the evening also provides the serviettes, dessert or chocolates and candles if so desired.
Lunches – simple – suggest either cold meat or tuna mayo / salad / rolls / cheese or whatever (can use ‘heat and eat’ breadrolls or ciabatta)
THANKS FOR PAYMENT RECEIVED AGES AGO
For 1 chalet for 2 people: Fri and Sat night R700 per night x 2 nights = R1400
Ditto Sun and Mon nights R560 per night x 2 nights = R1120
Total = R2520
ie per person for the 4 nights R1260 or per couple R2520
The cheaper 2 nights are with pensioners discount.
Not sure if anyone has arranged to go to Tembe Elephant Park after Ndumu or for a game drive whilst we are at Ndumu – distance from Ndumu probably 35 minutes travelling
Tel: 039 – 9732534 0826 512 868
Spoke to Claudette (Westville) 031 – 2670144 who does the accommodation bookings.
Info R35 per vehicle R30 per person if in 4 x 4 able to do a ‘self drive’ otherwise to book at least 24 hours before with Claudette –
Cost R800 for landrover / for 8 – 10 persons and R100 per person – would be met at the gate. Drive 11am – 2pm
HAVE A LOOK AT TEMBE WEBCAM OR ZULCAM ON THE INTERNET – BEST TIME BETWEEN 11AM AND 3PM WHEN THE ELEPHANTS ARE AT THE WATER HOLE.
Please – none of the above is cast in stone and we are all flexible and open to any other suggestions.